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Category Archives: Working

Garment Making in Bangladesh

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Today someone in Dhaka, Bangladesh, searched The Stitchery for “shirtmaking” posts. It reminded me that yet another disaster has befallen the largely female work force in the garment factories there.

According to Reuters, Bangladesh is number 2 in the world in apparel exports.

Yesterday, April 24 2013, an 8 story building that housed an indoor market, a bank and 5 garment factories collapsed 20 miles outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The numbers vary: 250 dead, 2000 pulled from the rubble alive, 1500 injured, 1000’s unaccounted for.


The 9th floor of the building was still under construction and had been certified as safe only the day before when large cracks developed. The owner of the building has been arrested and locals are calling for him to be sentenced to death. Some of the garment factory owners are also being arrested.


My heart is breaking for these low-paid employees. Shirtmaking shouldn’t be this dangerous!

Edited April 28 The building owner has finally been detained, he was not arrested immediately because he could not be found after Tuesday. And he said the building had been inspected but the police report that they advised the building was unsafe. There are also reports that 2 of the factory owners forced their employees to go to work. Politics and avoidance of responsibility make reporting almost impossible.


Let the Gardening Begin!

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Bag Balm

In case you haven’t heard: Bag Balm is the gardener’s friend. It saves hands from the roughing up they get when working the soil. Must have smooth hands for sewing and knitting you know!

I just received this pattern in the mail yesterday and had planned to sew it up this week in a wind blocking technical fabric but temperatures are going to be in the 70’s and 80’s for most of the week.

Coverall Pattern

I’ll have to cut another pair of overalls instead. My new brown ones don’t show dirt very much but they will need washing soon. Here’s how they look after a day in the dirt: not too bad. You just can’t beat good quality fabric, that’s my thoughts on the matter 🙂

Work Clothes

The overalls got a good workout yesterday. It was a wonderful day. First, Husband worked just a few hours in the early morning and when he came in we took the dog with us to the Rose Society’s Education Day at a local nursery.

The meeting was incredibly informative and just as I suspected: our area is overrun with dying roses that carry the incurable Rose Rosetta virus. Here’s some more pictures at Fine Gardening

Here’s a wild rose in our neighborhood field that has the disease but is still growing and spreading the mites that carry the virus. The diseased branch is red, while a healthy branch on the same bush is in the background

Rose Rosette Disease on a wild rose

RRD Closeup

RRD Closeup

The virus was introduced originally to kill off the wild roses that can take over whole fields. That was done about 27 years ago and now it’s killing off domesticated roses in wide swathes across the country.

It is potentially devastating for the rose industry but only just now are there studies being done to see what cures might be developed. Turns out that our little local Rose Society is full of incredibly knowledgeable folks and the Society provided the seed money for the first year of such a study, YAY for them! Dr Mark Windham is conducting the investigation. I do hope a prevention or cure can be found.

I have had to remove one whole plant last year when this virus continually sent up shoots from it’s root stock that were afflicted with the disease. The plant itself looked OK but one tiny mite, blown on the winds, can carry the disease to all the other roses. Another of the same species is exhibiting this disease in just one area and I’ll keep pruning those branches and hope that it doesn’t spread to the other roses. Yesterday I learned that if I get all the roots out of the hole from where the infected rose was removed I can plant another rose in that space. That was not the thinking last year. And I learned that I could just continuously prune off the branches that show this disease and perhaps the plant will survive.

Roses are a lot of work and even the disease resistant “Knock-Out Roses” are not as resistant as they have been touted to be. And I had just redone the front landscaping in 2011 with 13 roses. Ahhhhh, what have I done?

I had hoped to prune down hard all the roses with Husband’s help but the advice from the Rose Society’s expert is to wait until the new growth is 3 to 4″ long. Mine is only just over an inch right now. So we’ll wait a week or so to prune. Pruning is not my forte but I do try to do things properly so I’ll study up on it. It’s an annual ritual: re-reading rose pruning techniques.

So now: on to the vegetable garden.

Why do I grow the garden? Simple economics: the more food I grow and put up, the less money is needed to run the house, and the more money is available to pay employee salaries over the winter time, our slow season. I’ll bet I only went to the grocery store 4 times this past winter. And so I work, hard.

In the afternoon we planted peas, spinach, and lettuce.

Pea Fence

The peas will grow up a 4 foot wire fence and shade the spinach and lettuce behind it. They will only get direct sun in the mornings.

This row held tomatoes last year and being the closest to the creek and the wettest part of the garden grounds, proved to be a hotbed of the anthracnose fungi, Colletotrichum coccodes. WARNING: The following photos are not for the faint of heart: My homegrown Anthracnose Colletotrichum coccodes I did a really good job of letting it thrive! Duh.

Boy, that decimated the ‘maters! I had overplanted so I still got a harvest that kept me quite busy. I pulled the most infected plants and doused the ground with vinegar and water but it didn’t really seem to do much. I still had wet spots even though I didn’t allow any more filaments to form. Perhaps the wet spots were a different form of tomato malady. There are so many wilts and fungus that beset tomatoes!

This year I will plant, water only on the ground, lay down a ground cover, prune all but the growing tip and stake the tomatoes. Labor intensive but with this kind of a fungi in the ground I need to provide prophylactic measures.

I will also cover the ground where the peas, lettuce and spinach are going to grow to keep this fungi off their leaves. I’m not so sure I’ll be able to do as much canning and freezing as I did last year.

We also pulled all the collards and I cooked up a big pot this morning, some of which will go into the freezer.

Collard Greens and Country Ham

using this recipe from Men’s Health. It was different than the way I usually do them but quite good. I used a packet of country ham, I just couldn’t go without the ham flavoring.

when I went out to the garden to get the shot of the now dirty overalls I found this:

Who Ate the Cabbage Last Night?

Who ate one of the cabbages last night? Some animal with very sharp, tiny teeth and a big wide bite. I’ll just bet that opossum who checks in on us got hungry for a sweet cabbage dinner! I can’t blame the poor critter. And raccoons eat cabbage, too. So now, I’ve got to figure out how to protect the cabbages from hungry omnivores. One article suggests planting a critter garden. Oh no! That’s more than I can even think about. Don’t know exactly what I’ll do about this. Any suggestions?

With all this garden work I’m facing I would like to applaud this little pot that needed nothing from me all winter: The Italian flat leafed and the triple curly parsley managed to thrive all on their own

Wintered over parsley

When the dog and I went out to the field to get the wild rose shots we crossed over to Cane Creek and Gaely investigated an animal trail down by the water

Investigating An Animal Path to the Water

and did her usual trick of getting a drink of water while wading

Getting a Drink

The field was full of field pansies AKA Johnny Jump-Ups. From the leaves I’d say they are Viola Bi-Color

Field Pansies AKA Johnny Jump-Ups

I do miss living up on the mountain where wild diversity was so much richer than here in this settled, cultivated valley. But I take pleasure in the wilds where ever I can.

Finished Anorak -Onion 1045-

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You may note that the hem does not contain elastic as I planned to do per the pattern suggestions. It is serged, turned and top stitched. I figured I’m round enough from the back view without elastic to emphasize it 🙂

Finished Back

I have finally figured out Flikr and I changed my WordPress password a number of weeks ago and apparently just now Flikr has figured that out. It wanted my attention!

As an admin and member of The Sewing Divas on I’ve seen thousands of spam attacks attached to the photos uploaded into the media library. I am now deleting all my Stitchery photos from that library, I don’t want that happening here in my little blog! Sorry for all the computer whining, I have spent too many years fixing computer stuff on the job to put up with it on something I do for fun!

Anorak Onion 1045 Pattern

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The anorak is shaping up.  It’s not finished yet but this is the first try on.

View A, but with plans for elastic at hem as well as wrist

How to line the hood has taken days to ponder since I am not buying new fabrics and only shop the stash.  And I had to think about the faux fur trim issue.

Onion 1045 Model

I wanted something very silky to protect my wildly curly hair from being dragged by the hood fabric but could only find solid colored charmeuse in the stash.  Then I checked the linings held in a black plastic bag and found this well aged  silk, just waiting

Placement of patterns

I had 3 different types of faux fur to use to edge the hood.   It’s pretty on the Onion version though, and is the proper thing to do on an anorak.    But decided I didn’t want to be bothered with feathery fur at the edges of my vision while I am working.

Silk Hood

Then placing the pattern became the next thing to ponder


I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  It’s pretty but not too fashionista for the garden environment

Collar affect with the zipper opened

I used this pattern because  it has a large pocket covered by a flap that will keep necessaries from falling out when you bend over.   This was the deciding factor, folks, I’ve been thinking about pocket security for a couple of years now.  I just hope the pocket is not so deep that reaching things becomes a problem

Front Pocket for cell phone, seed packets, etc

Cell phone, seed packets, notepad, pencil, tape measure and ruler, should all be safe from falling out.

Pocket contents held in place by flap

I have yet to set in the sleeves (decreasing the upper chest width in the process) and inserting elastic to sleeve and bottom hems.  I don’t want pull cords danging, these are work clothes and should not attract my attention away from what I’m doing.  I have enough problems being distracted by the birds flitting around without my clothes adding complications

Side before hemming sleeves and bottom>

I hope I finish this up today, that my time will not be spent trying to figure out computer problems!

Our Backsides LOL

Onion 1045 line drawing

Onion 1045

Rocky Mtn Trip & HP 1003: The Perfect Traveling Jacket

My new uniform! Enough room for multiple layers and sweaters but style enough for just a cami underneath. Easy to slide into and out of, those huge sleeves make perfect sense. And the pockets, Oh My Gosh, made keeping keys and necessaries so easy.

The New Uniform

Seriously, I wore this jacket last week almost constantly on a driving trip to the Rockies. That is 4 days in the truck and 3 days in Estes Park, going with the flow from hot weather to snow.

We rented a tiny cabin

Miner's Cabin

with a fantastic view


and explored the local surrounds after making breakfast, packing lunches and cleaning the cabin


while David Lee showed his Hello Wood Products Montessori materials and furniture to a wonderful group of teachers attending the Montessori in the Mountains conference put on by the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies.

It’s the time of year when elk come down from the high mountain to graze the lower meadows


and they wandered everywhere through the grounds of the site of the conference, the fabulous YMCA of the Rockies.

Gaely GoLightly kept vigilant watch for smaller things she could understand, like squirrels and and chipmunks.  She’s 14 now and her eyesight is poor enough that she doesn’t wander far from my side.  She’s a much more prudent dog than she was as a wild Westie youngster when nothing could stop her


We dined out only one night and mostly ate in the cabin which had a tiny kitchen. We were able to keep costs down and avoid the rich foods served in restaurants. These sales trips can be plenty fattening if we have to eat out all the time.

Dave had originally planned to pack up quickly and return to Tennessee ASAP to get back to work but Jane, a very wise woman who owns Montessori Services convinced me to plead for a quick trip through the National Park.


You can see the trip photos here on my Flikr set  I must apologize (even tho some will tell me not to apologize, this I already know) in advance for the darkness of the photos. It was difficult to use a point and shoot camera, even with amazing telephoto lens, to shoot across such light and dark and deep landscape. The colors were amazing, changing constantly with the snow storm and then clear mountain light in the afternoon.

I wish we had more time to spend in Rocky Mountain National Park. Maybe some day I can go back and hike and camp and do all the things that I wish to do.

I am reading A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird. You can read it online here or download an audio version here I highly recommend getting to know her life and work.

What a delightful time this has been and is continuing to be, thanks to the book. More access to it is available at LibriVox

I was scheduled to join Dave on this weekend’s travel to South Carolina Montessori Alliance conference in Columbia tonight and Saturday, but I reneged on my driver’s responsibilities in order to stay home and process the jalapenos and bell peppers which are bending their bushes to the ground. The Santa Ana pole bean plants are still producing as are some of the heirloom tomato plants and okra. The fall plantings of sugar snaps and sweet peas are coming in and the cole crops are being enjoyed by caterpillars that I mercilessly pick off and smash under my toe. For the first time in my gardening life I used Sevin, sprayed before our trip, to protect the plants from aphids and those caterpillars while I was gone. I really don’t know if I’ll do that again. While it helped the Brassicas to thrive (except for one row that was being munched when I got home and I can’t explain why) I am afraid I’ve done more damage than good. My wasps are gone and aphids have invaded the okra. Oh dear, I do hope I didn’t upset the balance of nature there! Ah, well the okra is over 12′ tall now and slowing down it’s production of pods in the cooling Fall temps.

One beet has been pulled by me (yay!) and a number of carrots have been pulled by what I suspect are voles tunneling under the row! That’s a funny thing to see: the carrot tops slowly disappearing into the ground. Yeah, I’m easily amused. 🙂

By Wednesday I’ll be on the road again, this time to Sarasota, Florida’s beautiful beaches and perhaps a dinner with the Hot Pattern crew if we can match up our schedules. Sadly, Patch won’t be with us this trip but it’s fun to see the pictures of him and Gaely enjoying the Beach from our Nov 8, 2009 trip.  Click this link, to see my fav shot of Patch on the Beach, looking so happy after such a long life at the end of a short chain.  Ah, that was a grand trip, too!

Isn’t it great to be able to sew and have a wardrobe that will work in all these different climates? What a luxury, I couldn’t have matched it back when I worked in a corporate environment and had to travel.

After Sarasota, Florida, we will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From the warm beach to the cold beach. Ahhhhhh! I will have my new jacket with me for sure


100_1186 Dog & Jacket

I clearly wasn’t ready for this last shot, LOL!

Ahhh, I Wish They Could All Be Like Nancy Nord

Quote from Loss of Faith in Regulators
from Conversations with Consumers by Nancy Nord

The message I heard over and over was that the requirements we are imposing, along with the growing list of other federal and state regulatory requirements they [furniture makers at High Point, NC] are facing, is becoming an overwhelming burden that is pushing a once-proud American industry off-shore. Several manufacturers that I visited described to me in detail the safety and quality control procedures they have in place–procedures that are working well–and were very critical of our insistence that they change what is working. They were especially angry that changes are being required when there is no demonstrable evidence that enhanced safety will result but there is demonstrable evidence of the significant costs that will be incurred. One furniture company CEO made the point that, in business, costs must be measured against the benefits that will come from additional expenditures. He rightly asked why this principle did not apply to government.

I have not ranted and raved here. I have quietly closed my business of commercial sewing for the classroom after getting absolutely no where with my congresspersons. We have worked hard and waited a long long time for some common sense to take over but we just couldn’t hold out any longer, especially when faced with having to test every button every color, every thread every color, fabric was not exempted even though the manufacturers testified that there is no lead in the dyes these days.

We’ve been ignored, and now The Stitchery is out of business.

Our wood working company uses far fewer components than the sewn products line and so it has had all its components tested for lead and phthalates in compliance with the CPSIA. But my sewn products just don’t make enough profit to have each component, in each color, and each size, to warrant the expensive potential fines and public blacklisting than can be a result of anyone, ever, in any part of the world, or for any reason, making a complaint to the CPSC, our federal regulators.

So, after many years of being a democrat and many years of believing the in ultimate responsiveness of our government, I am defeated and my beloved Stitchery is For Sale.

So I know I’m not voting for any Democrats this year but I’ll be darned if I can find too many Republicans that I feel I can trust. Yikes!

Bothering Birds: Nuisance Control

I arrived at The Stitchery today and found no birds in the trees. Whew!

So, I’m reinforcing the raglan sleeve seams in the coat’s lining with some lovely straight waistband tape that Els sent me a few years ago. It is straight tape sewn on top of a biased edge so the edge can be folded into the interior of a seam quite nicely. I believe she uses it for waistband stays. It’s working perfectly for the raglan armscye.

Decided to take a break to go visit my neighbor, Mr O, who is responsible for alerting the authorities about our alarming bird population. I am fond of him, anyway. This man has passed his 50th wedding anniversary, to give you an estimate of his age. Let’s just say he’s been around enough to know how to live life well.

Around here polite manners are supreme and being fast witted is the way to get along. People will agree with you whether they really do or not rather than be rude, which is just a horrible thing. I always learn about verbal STYLE from Mr O.

Anyway, Mr O says the birds were on a hill higher up in the neighborhood this morning and that the city is going to order special guns that fire a kind of bomb that goes off up in the air. The codes enforcer hadn’t bothered to explain that to me. I guess he didn’t think I would want to know, and I didn’t ask, either. He told me “shotguns”, so I took him at his word. That’s why no shotgun shells in my yard.

Well, that makes sense: the buzzards are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and there’s special State and Federal permits required.

So special guns. I guess I feel better. There’s something about men running amuck after dark with shotguns that had me more freaked out than the buzzards!!! Silly me.

I guess this would be similar to having too many pigeons, starlings, or geese, crows, or mergansers. Just the fact that they are Really Creepy Birds, buzzards, had me so freaked out I couldn’t see them as just bothering birds.

And old problem after all.

Back to being more sensible and getting my sewing done….